InterviewsTech@Work

Tech@Work: “For Success, Businesses Need to Find Smart Ways to Use Tech”

Jason McMillan, the Sales Director at Epson Middle East, speaks about the products and solutions his company offers for today’s workplace

Which products and solutions do you offer for today’s workplace?
Epson provides products that address and help support the business needs of today’s workplace environments. Whether hybrid or remote working, businesses are opting for technology solutions that can help with the need for physical distancing and lower user intervention while sill prioritising products that are cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Epson’s versatile solutions for the workplace help support organisations in the Middle East in optimising costs, efficiency, and sustainability.

Printing services such as:

Contactless printing solutions, such as Epson Print Admin, can reduce touchpoints as employees swipe their cards to release print jobs without touching the device. These solutions also reduce paper and ink waste, as well as improving data security as prints are only released once the users are in front of the machine and have authorised its release using their swipe cards.

Cloud-based solutions, such as Epson Connect, can allow employees to remotely print documents from their mobile devices.

Remote servicing software such as Epson Remote Service allows print fleets to be monitored and maintained remotely, reducing the need for onsite engineer visits, and increasing first-fix success. Additionally, the cost of maintenance and printer downtime are also reduced.

Epson display solutions can help safely bring people back together and maintain social distancing in the classroom or office while ensuring materials being presented are visible to all due to large display screen sizes that can scale up to 155 inches. Those working or studying remotely can also connect, collaborate, annotate, share ideas and add to group work. Unlike flat panels, there are no visible finger marks left on screen when touched and when using them with anti-bacterial whiteboard surfaces, it eradicates any breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

Epson’s visualisers such as the education document camera can project live views of 3D objects without people crowding or passing objects, reducing touchpoints and allowing engagement with remote students. It also provides flexibility to show the classroom from any angle simply by rotating and repositioning the camera head.

Many offices can also de-centralise their printing and scanning fleets, using smaller printers instead of one big copier or distributing existing units instead of maintaining a single printing location. This helps to reduce gathering points and print queues. Scanning documents on arrival into the business and distributing via email can also help reduce touchpoints.

How do you think technology today helps businesses grow?
Technology is driving change in almost every major industry; finding smart ways to use technology is an integral part of success in business today. Companies across the Middle East are relying on technology more than ever to drive innovation, strategy, growth, and increase competitive advantage. Companies of all sizes use technology systems to improve the way they design and manage their workflow, operations, processes, production, business communications, financial record keeping.

The retail industry is a great example of this. Businesses evolved as a result of the pandemic and needed to shift to alternative ways to cater to their customers, such as e-commerce, online deliveries or in-home dining options for restaurants. Digital label printing has been an essential technology tool in the Middle East since the pandemic, helping with remote or online order placements for products and custom-made labels for specific customers or brands. Epson’s label printers and portable POS receipt printers have helped businesses responding to this demand.

In addition, as we witnessed a rise of home offices, technologies such as Epson’s EcoTank printer range, have been a tremendous support – where cartridges are no longer needed, significantly reducing the need for users to shop for and replace ink.

Within manufacturing and heavy industry, our Moverio smart glasses have helped with remote diagnostics and servicing, enabling specialist support in field without the need for engineers to physically attend. In retail, our Moverio glasses have also been used for virtual shopping to help retailers remain open by reviewing products live in store for potential customers viewing at home.

How is technology driving our economic recovery?
Technology has played an essential role in keeping our economy and society functioning during the pandemic and it can play an even bigger role in driving a sustainable economic recovery.

Digital technologies can make manufacturing more productive and less resource-intensive, and supply chains more resilient. Reshoring and the further development of local manufacturing is aligned with Middle East transformation agendas, as it would see manufacturing driving diversified economic growth and enabling job creation.

Automated robotics are set to play a major role in supporting reshoring and local manufacturing. As automated robotics have become more accessible and affordable, they are now ideal for small companies, manufacturers, and the agricultural industry. For example, robotics allows for the creation of new domestic jobs through reshoring, as businesses bring their production and distribution home. A new channel of jobs and opportunities in programming, engineering, AI and technology-based careers could also be created as robot fleets need to be programmed and managed.

How is tech shaping the infrastructure of tomorrow?
The office of the future is expected to look very different to the office of today. Not only because of social distancing requirements, but also because organisations have reimagined workflows and processes around digital opportunities to enhance agility, collaboration, performance, and customer-centricity. However, more information shared digitally often means more materials need to be printed – with printers playing a central role in the increasingly information-centric workplace, especially in legal, medical, and financial services. 

Organizations are shifting from a culture of ’print everything‘ to ’print what matters most‘ – with a workload that is centred on the document. Epson’s business inkjet printers can use less energy, reduce waste, and are more sustainable for the environment and the bottom line. Print is most powerful when combined with digital media. 

Epson looks forward to launching PaperLab within the region. Globally, it is the first in-office, paper secure recycler, that turns wastepaper into new paper using a virtually dry process powered by Epson’s unique Dry Fiber technology. This revolutionary, on-demand solution will help businesses in the Middle East to securely destroy sensitive information, recycle, reduce its societal and environmental impact and take control of paper supplies.

How is your company investing in the workforce of tomorrow?
We are investing in the Middle East as a growth market, aligned with national transformation agendas, increasing our local head count, and supporting the workforce. We have partnered with Middlesex University Dubai with its Robotics Laboratory, supporting the MSc Robotics programme. Epson also engaged with over 11,000 students of all ages as part of its ‘New Horizons’ programme, introducing young people to sustainable technology and inspiring them to achieve their career goals.

How is your company working towards a sustainable future?
Epson has announced Epson 25 Renewed, a new corporate vision to drive the company towards its goals of achieving sustainability and enriching communities. Epson’s strong sustainability commitments and achievements already see it ranking in the top ten of all companies measured by industry intelligence provider IDC’s sustainability framework, rating higher than average across all indexes measured.

Epson’s revised Environmental Vision 2050 reinforces these goals, as the company seeks to become carbon negative and underground resource free by 2050 through a program of decarbonisation, closing resource loops, customer environmental impact mitigation and the development of innovative environmental technologies. We will invest 100 billion Yen (33 million AED) to help achieve these goals.

We have also aligned our business activities to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals; signing up as a technology partner to the United Nation’s Smart Sustainable Cities implementation program to utilize technology to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in cities around the world.  

How do you think tech will shape the 2021 landscape?
Technology has enabled businesses to continue to function and improve despite challenging circumstances. It has and will continue to play an important role for organisations, in creating, innovating, and further developing their business. Middle East organisations that adopt innovative technology now can enable the socially distanced office to meet government guidelines and to maintain business continuity. Investments in innovative technologies can also lower total cost of ownership and deliver innovative new business models.

In 2021, Epson Middle East will focus on connecting businesses with the sustainable technology solutions that will not only save them money but also contribute to their sustainability goals. Our business inkjet printers for instance use less energy than laser printers, significantly reducing energy consumption. With this one simple technology switch, small and large business alike can be more sustainable while protecting their bottom line. In retail, Epson offers businesses a range of products such as mPOS devices and label printers that can transform customer experiences, improve brand communication and reduce cost and waste in the process.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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